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Blogs

A second-half push for the defense

Posted by Darren Urban on November 11, 2013 – 11:59 am

The Cardinals were down 17-14 at halftime Sunday, thanks to the blocked field goal of Justin Bethel on the final play of the second quarter. At that point, linebacker Daryl Washington said, the defense as a unit committed to the idea 17 points was the most it could allow. A lofty goal. But if Rashard Mendenhall doesn’t fumble the ball away late inside the 10 — and if Andre Johnson doesn’t make yet another spectacular toe-tapping touchdown on fourth down for the Texans — the Cardinals’ defense would have pulled it off.

The Texans gained just 41 net yards in the second half and had zero net yards in the third quarter. In the second half, Houston had just three plays of at least 10 yards — two 11-yard passes and an 11-yard run. And in their five wins, the Cardinals — who were down at halftime in four of those games — have allowed just 21 points in the second half. They have 20 turnovers, which is tied for fifth in the league (and it should be higher if Karlos Dansby could hang on to the ball — more on that later today.)

– As of now, Elias is checking out whether John Abraham and not Frostee Rucker should get the late 23-yard sack of Case Keenum. It’s tough to tell on replay if Keenum lost his balance because of Rucker or because he was trying to dive out of the way of Abraham. Even if Abraham “only” ends up with two sacks yesterday, he’s one of only seven players this season with five sacks and three forced fumbles — nice production and exactly what the Cards were hoping for.

– Bethel’s block was the Cards’ 16th blocked field-goal attempt since 2008, by far the best in the NFL. Seattle is second with 10.

– Carson Palmer’s TD pass to Rob Housler was Palmer’s 200th in his career.

– RB Andre Ellington and his 7.19-per-carry rush average remains second in the league behind Oakland QB Terrelle Pryor (7.41) and by far the best running back with at least 50 rushing attempts.


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Posted in Blog | 24 Comments »


24 Responses to “A second-half push for the defense”

  1. By Mike G on Nov 11, 2013 | Reply

    Hey Darren–Hope all is well! –Great win for the Card’s yesterday. Thought the defense came on strong after Bethel’s block Also thought Abraham had a big game. On offense— I thought it was important to stick to the run game which gave the offense the balance it needed to be somewhat productive. Still– 3 turnovers and in some ways they were fortunate to win because you cant lose that turnover battle and expect to win games in their upcoming schedule. Houston does have a good defense and you have to give them some credit. Hey Darren–Do you think picking up Ballard could wind up helping out Housler????? Having a veteran at that position is something the Cards have not had!!!

  2. By Dynosoar on Nov 11, 2013 | Reply

    I just listened to BA’s locker room speech. Is it typical for third yr and above veterans to have Monday and Tuesday off for other NFL teams? Would practicing as often as the rookies help chemistry between the vets, like Palmer and Fitzgerald?

    We got the win, so I’m not questioning BA’s methods, I’m just wondering to what extent across the league that 3rd yr+ vets get time off that rookies don’t get. Could be very good motivation and help them recover after a game.

  3. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Nov 11, 2013 | Reply

    Darren:

    Love Ellington and how the threeRB were used, fwiw.

    pardon my fog (infants babies my excuse) but is did I read in your blog a post that Ryan Williams put on IR?? Missed that (or was it incorrect?).

    From locker room flyonwall: BA told players b4 game he would vary for 1st time from rule to always take ball on coin toss and would kick off but wanted a fumble? Damn fine coaching if true…

    DTL

  4. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Nov 11, 2013 | Reply

    D:

    One more please: any takeaways on Ballard’s play? Any correlation with Housler “breakout”? I called it that as the long pass-catch near the goal line was one of better catches I’ve seen in longtemp. Very exciting..

    DTL

  5. By CardsFanInSeattle on Nov 11, 2013 | Reply

    Hey Darren,

    NFL.com and this site used to post highlight videos with radio calls as the audio. Would love to see highlights of Bethel’s block and the fumble recovery listening to Pasch and Wolf instead of the FOX/CBS guys…any idea why that doesn’t happen anymore??

  6. By ben on Nov 11, 2013 | Reply

    So when do we cut Mendenhall?

  7. By Darren Urban on Nov 11, 2013 | Reply

    Mike G –

    RE: Ballard/Housler

    I’m not sure it’s going to play out that way. It’s not like Ballard has been around that much longer.

  8. By Darren Urban on Nov 11, 2013 | Reply

    Dyno –

    RE: Victory Monday

    A lot of teams have victory Mondays, especially later in the season. I’ve never been around a team that says the younger guys still have to come in.

  9. By Darren Urban on Nov 11, 2013 | Reply

    DTL –

    RE: Ryan Williams

    Williams is still on the active roster. He’s not hurt.

  10. By Darren Urban on Nov 11, 2013 | Reply

    CardsFan –

    RE: Highlights

    Because in the preseason we produce the telecasts and Pasch and Wolf are already doing it. Once in a while, we might try it for a regular-season game, but the league provides us with the easy-to-post TV highlights and thus, that’s what you see.

  11. By Chris B on Nov 11, 2013 | Reply

    Dansby should of had at least 2 picks and probably could have had 2 TDs to go with them….

  12. By Dynosoar on Nov 11, 2013 | Reply

    Darren,

    I just listened again and BA said “If you’re in your third year or above I’ll see you Wednesday. If you’re in your in your first or second year I’ll see you tomorrow.”

    I just took that as the 1st and 2nd yr players were required to practice more than the older vets. Hence the question, because I have heard of victory Mondays, this just seemed like a victory Monday & Tuesday with the rookies practicing on Monday & Tuesday.

    Did I miss something?

  13. By Dynosoar on Nov 11, 2013 | Reply

    Ellington 7.2 yrds avg
    Mendenhall 3.1 yrds avg
    Smith 3.0 yrds avg.
    Taylor 2.8 yrds avg

  14. By Darren Urban on Nov 11, 2013 | Reply

    Dyno –

    RE: Tuesdays

    All players are off on Tuesdays. That’s nothing new. You are correct though, younger players had to show up Monday. Vets did not.

    (Although if a player needed treatment or wanted to lift, he was still here this morning. I saw Powers, Roberts, Floyd, Abraham, Housler, Dockett, Dansby among others.)

  15. By georgiebird on Nov 11, 2013 | Reply

    Haven’t read too many complaints about the OL after this game. It’s funny how a little crisper play from QB and some better play calling can help the OL’s performance- and Houston has a pretty good defense. And of course, our own defense kept us in the game after some 1st half lapses.
    I hope BA can inject a little more speed into the offense. Hate to say this but Larry looks big and slow, his blocking has been real good- he’d make a great TE.

  16. By Chuck 1 on Nov 12, 2013 | Reply

    It’s time for some well deserved kudos for their performance (in alphabetical order).

    Abraham
    Arians (innovative play calling)
    Bowles
    Bethel
    Housler
    Jones, Amos (Special Teams’ coach)
    Keim (signing Abraham and others)
    Palmer
    Shaughnessy
    T. Williams
    Zastudil

    Of course, it was “a TEAM win” and others played well, but in my mind these stood out.

  17. By Lifetime Fan on Nov 12, 2013 | Reply

    @Seattle guy, I feel you, I watch games from Europe on NFL GamePass, the quality of the stream is great, but the national announcers are SO bad…getting everyone’s name wrong, and not adding any interesting color…I would love to get to hear Wolf call the game, maybe next year.

  18. By Rich on Nov 12, 2013 | Reply

    for those who never played football, don’t get too caught up in yards per carry for these running backs. different backs are called on in different circumstances. plays are called to set up later plays. in today’s game you need a “draft horse” and a runner. Ellington is certainly special, but don’t confuse his role with an ability to be a different kind of role player. Mendenhall is ok, I’d like to see Taylor a bit more when the “big load” runs are needed.

  19. By jasonc on Nov 12, 2013 | Reply

    Georgie-

    You haven’t heard any complaints because the offensive line play has been significantly better. “It’s funny how a little crisper play from QB and some better play calling can help the OL’s performance” or maybe it’s better oline play that has allowed Carson to be crisper and for the plays called to develop…just a thought.

  20. By Dynosoar on Nov 12, 2013 | Reply

    Darren,
    thanks for the clarification. Much of what I know of the day to day operations comes from this blog, so I know I have misunderstandings of some things. Some day I may understand it all.

  21. By clssylssy on Nov 12, 2013 | Reply

    @Chuck…
    It would seem that because Patrick Peterson and Larry were “behind the scenes, doing an amazing job of more “defensive” activities in assisting the aforementioned individuals in their spotlight plays, their efforts were somehow deemed less outstanding. It is because of these unselfish Captains that the Cards were able to be victorious against a very tough opponent. Let’s hope that the Cards are able to take their TEAM effort and this winning formula on the road to be victorious against Jacksonville. AWESOME team unity….there is no “I” in TEAM!

  22. By Chuck 1 on Nov 12, 2013 | Reply

    clssylssy,

    Did I mention “Of course, it was “a TEAM win” and others played well, but in my mind these stood out.”???

    Maybe I should have listed all 53 players?????

  23. By clssylssy on Nov 12, 2013 | Reply

    Chuck…
    Gotcha…I did see that you credited all the others. It seems that with some fans (not you necessarily) unless a player is in the spotlight the supporting players get minimal credit when their unselfish efforts are the foundation upon which victory is built. To many newbies, it’s all about stats and justifying a player’s value by what is measurable. The best part of this game was that the Cards looked more like a complete team than they have in a long time and we need to hang on to that to build on so everybody can produce optimally. Great team effort by players and coaches!

  24. By ored on Nov 12, 2013 | Reply

    just like we planned(sic),playoffs come down to the last game,how much more could we ask for?well,for one,a repeat to the sb would be nice and would certainly raise expectations for next year,not much pressure there,lol.

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